Skip to main content

Full text of "Religion still the Key to History"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 

Volume XII~\ January, ipo/ \_Nwnber 


mxxtm W\%in\tiX %tvitw 


THERE are three men in the world whose daily doings and say- 
ings especially interest it: — the Emperor William, President 
Roosevelt, and the Pope of Rome. Two command public attention 
by the union of great official powers with strong native faculties of 
mind and will. The third commands it almost purely from his official 
character. He governs no territory, although his authority is daily 
felt in the remotest quarters of the globe and he holds a court to 
which great nations send ambassadors. In the sphere where he 
does bear rule, he has evinced no faculty of individual initiative 
He has no force of speech, no power of the pen. The son of a 
simple peasant, his greatness consists in his headship of a vener- 
able and world-wide church, and in his thus standing, more than any 
other man, as the representative of a great religion. 

Lamprecht tells us that history is " an sich nichts als angewandte 
Psychologic" To this extent certainly the epigram rings true that 
history can never neglect to take into account whatever psycho- 
logical forces move peoples or actuate leaders of peoples. Such 
a force has always been found, is still found, in religion. It is 
one of those — vague, impulsive, constant in play, inconstant in in- 
tensity — which deny to the historical student the power of scien- 
tific prediction. 

Ours is an age of more reverence for human reason and less 
reverence for human authority. But as reverence for human au- 
thority becomes less, a conviction deepens that men are subject to 
a power greater than themselves. We may call it Nature, or call 
it God. What we know is that it speaks by laws — invariable laws. 
What we feel is that it is a thing of mystery ; — too great to be meas- 

1 Annual Address of the President of the American Historical Association, 
delivered December 26, 1906. 

AM. HIST. REV., VOL. XII. — 15. ( 210, ) 

220 5. E. Baldwin 

ured from earth ; too far from man, near though it be at every step, 
to be so much as seen in all its outline by his philosophy. 

The relation of history to religion has been greatly changed 
during the last two centuries. What we call modern history, and 
distant times may deem to be that of the Middle Ages, had its real 
beginning when modern government arose, and that was when the 
peoples of France and the United States, as they gathered in the 
fruits of their revolutions, pronounced that absolute religious liberty 
was one. Civil liberty and popular government were no new things 
in the world. A state without a church was. Guizot has said that 
Democracy was introduced into Europe by a foreign missionary 
named Paul. If this be so, it was a democracy whose motive and 
sphere were religious. Political democracy dissevered from re- 
ligion was to come seventeen centuries later. 

It was to take from religion its legal authority, but only to 
strengthen its moral power. Until the " ideas of 1789 " took formal 
shape, history had been the record of what the few did with the 
help of the many. It has since been the record of what the many 
do, with the help of the few. It may well be that at some time the 
leaders — the few who are in authority in any nation — may be care- 
less of religion. The many — or at the least, the whole people — 
never will be. If a majority should be indifferentists or irreligious, 
the minority will be all the more devoted to the cause to which they 
attribute a sacred character. 

Religion offers in statecraft a means of resting policy upon prin- 
ciple. It is, as Talleyrand has said, only when rested upon prin- 
ciple that a policy can endure. 1 The principles sanctioned by the 
religion of the time are incontestable. Later times may discard 
them. But to each generation of any people the principles instilled 
by ministers of religion under the sanction of the church will 
permeate society and become a part of its being — of what in the 
truest sense is its political constitution. 

I use religion to signify something real, and not less real be- 
cause to one set of men it is one thing, to another set another 
thing. It does not seem to me that Renan was right when he said 
that " Les religions, comme les philosophies, sont toutes vaines ; 
mais la religion, pas plus que la philosophic n'est vaine." 2 No re- 
ligion is wholly vain. Each is true to its disciples, and in its truth 
to them inspires their lives. History has to do with all religions, 
because it has to do with all men. 

1 Memoirs, Putnam's edition, II. 124. 

2 Histoire du Peuple d'Israel, I. xxviii. 

Religion still the Key to History 22 1 

Every great religion has come at the beginning with a resistless 
power. It comes as the expression by some clear-sighted, high- 
strung leader of men of what has long lain confusedly in the minds 
of many of his fellow-countrymen, now first really disclosed to 
them and clothed with a light and power that is wholly new. There 
is a truth in it, or it would not be great ; and truth endures. 

Such a religion has a beginning, but it will have no end until the 
national ideas of the peoples to whom it has presented a new con- 
ception of life are radically changed. It worked a social revolution 
when it first appeared, but the shock of it then, however great, was 
less of a world-force than the trembling, far-diffused, which in after 
years and ages has marked its continued life. It is a permanent 
addition to the energies of civilization. 

As a key to history, religion has changed its form since the 
overthrow of the ancient order of things that marked the close 
of the eighteenth century ; but its strength remains the same. 

Once that strength was largely found in the power of an estab- 
lished church, or of a sentiment of opposition to an established 
church. Now it is coming more from the force of the principles for 
which, at bottom, churches stand, in influencing general public 

Once it received large expression in the fine arts, brought to 
the service of ecclesiasticism. The pyramids, the Greek temple 
no less than the Gothic cathedral, the paintings of the masters of 
former days, in Asia as well as Europe, the great music of the past, 
were all its offspring. To-day these arts turn for the most part 
elsewhere for their inspiration and ideals. 

The artist is tired of the anthropomorphism by which his pre- 
decessors degraded the divine. The architect is planning, the 
decorator is adorning, museums, libraries, lecture halls, state-houses, 
more than churches. The composer meets every mood. But there 
is here, too, a line that never can be passed. A school of art may 
be non-religious. It cannot be irreligious, and endure. 

Once religion led to alliances of nations for no other cause than 
that they shared the same form of it and wished, perhaps, to secure 
it a wider spread. Against such connections the Peace of West- 
phalia, with its rule of cujus regio, ejus religio, shut one door, and 
the futile outcome of the Holy Alliance closed another. In inter- 
national affairs the distinction between Christian and infidel has 
passed away as fully as that between Greek and barbarian ; but 
that which is vital to all religions and common to all religions is 
but the more clearly seen, and strongly felt. 

222 S. E. Baldwin 

History has a place in " the literature of power." It has it only 
by right of the human motive that controls events and the imagina- 
tion that can see and paint it. 

There was a half-truth in what Sir Edward Burne-Jones once 
said, that there were but four English historians: Shakespeare, 
Scott, Dickens, and Thackeray. There is no historian who is not 
an artist. He must tell his story in a large way. He is concerned 
with what is in essence part of a long process. Facts, as Macaulay 
puts it, are the dross of history. Their relations to us are what is 
to be fined out, and when these are found in religion, something 
great has at once come in to dignify the work. 

Herbert Spencer has said that in the fine arts " a work . . . 
which is full of small contrasts and without any great contrasts, sins 
against the fundamental principles of beauty ". 1 The thought may 
be extended to historical literature. There must be great contrasts to 
make any particular history effective. But more than this, it is only 
so far as it preserfts great contrasts that any history, be it particular 
or universal, is true. They are its soul. They are the moving cause 
of the trivial events and common course of things which conceal 
them from general observation. 

Such contrasts, in those states of society with which the his- 
torian has to deal, enter into each human life. They come from 
those two things which, as Kant said, fill every man with a certain 
awe — the starry heavens and the still, small voice of his own con- 
science. This conscience may be largely a product of human evolu- 
tion. It means little or nothing to the savage. The starry heavens 
mean little to him. But he is impressed by the inborn or from birth 
in-trained conviction that there are higher and unseen powers, one 
or many, from whom something is to be feared or gained. Man 
enters organized society without losing this conviction. He feels 
himself bound to something higher and stronger. The bond may 
easily become a fetter, but on the whole it makes life larger and less 

What is natural to man is inherited from generation to genera- 
tion. Whatever he has acquired — be it of thought or knowledge — 
must be taught over again by each generation to the next, if it is to 
endure. Religion is part of his nature — a spiritual possession which 
education does not give, except in form, and seldom takes away. 

That the religion of every race has, down to recent times, gone 
far to shape its history, few will dispute. Does its controlling in- 
fluence on national conditions pass away before a higher civiliza- 

1 Autobiography, II. 408. 

Religion still the Eey to History 223 

tion and a wider knowledge ? May it be a key to the life of a tribe 
of savages, but only as an incident of immaturity and ignorance? 
Does the key grow rusty, as time goes on? Or is the religious 
motive one of the inherent, universal, and eternal forces that must, 
in all ages, deeply affect, if not vitally control, the doings of men, 
as massed in nations, in matters of national concern? 

Perhaps the answer hangs on what the religious motive is. If 
it be to secure some personal good, whether here or hereafter, for 
oneself or one's family, it will be inevitably weakened by advances 
in civilization. All those advances are towards altruism. Altruism 
proceeds from the spirit of self-sacrifice, and that is the highest 
spring of religion. " Selfish and interested individualism ", says 
John Morley, " has been truly called non-historic. Sacrifice has 
been the law — sacrifice for creeds, for churches, for dynasties, for 
kings, for adored teachers, for native land." 1 

It is this spirit which gives all its nobility to the story of our 
race. As it brought all Christendom together in the Crusades, so 
it brought the civilized world together in the Conference of Peace 
at the Hague in 1899. In each of these great movements it was 
distinctly associated with religion — blindly in the one, truly in the 
other. That the ancient distinction between Christian and infidel 
found no place in the rescript of the Czar, which led to the Hague 
Conference, was of itself some proof of its essentially religious 
motive. 2 

1 " Democracy and Reaction ", Nineteenth Century, April, 1905 (vol. 57, 
P- 547). 

2 At a critical moment in the proceedings of the Hague Conference of 1899, 
there came into the hands of the president of the American delegation a letter 
sent out by the Protestant Episcopal bishop of Texas to the clergy of his diocese 
with a form of prayer to be used in all the churches, asking the blessing of God 
on the work of the Conference in the interests of peace. The Emperor of Ger- 
many had instructed his representatives to oppose the institution of any court 
of arbitration. Mr. White was at the time preparing a despatch to the German 
prime minister urging him to use his influence to secure a reconsideration of the 
question. He referred to the letter of the bishop as an important utterance of 
a widely prevailing Christian sentiment, which could not be disregarded, and also 
handed it to the bearer of the despatch, his associate, the late Dr. Holls, to use 
as he might think best. Dr. Holls showed it to the chancellor, Prince Hohenlohe, 
who — a strong religionist — was evidently affected by it. Not long afterwards, 
the German delegation took a position favorable to the treaty of arbitration, 
and Mr. White refers to the incident as " perhaps an interesting example of an 
indirect 'answer to prayer.'" Autobiography of Andrew D. White, II. 311, 322. 

We have his authority also for the statement that religion in a curious way 
dictated the original call for the Hague Conference. The Czar acted in the 
matter on the advice of Pobedonostseff. Pobedonostseff desired a reduction of 
armaments as the only means which he could see to give Russia the means to 
increase her grants for the benefit of the State church. Ibid., 269-270. 

224 S. £. Baldwin 

Thus far in the history of the earth, the mass of mankind have 
ever sought to regulate their conduct by their desires. Civiliza- 
tion has somewhat modified their desires. It has given them new 
forms, inspired them by new influences, turned them in new direc- 
tions, subjected them to certain conventions ; but individual desires 
are still what press forward as the natural motive-forces in and of 
organized society. 

Nevertheless they have seldom for any long period ruled the 
course of society. There has been a minority of the people, actuated 
by counter-forces of an intensive character and power, sufficient to 
make it stronger than the majority in so far as to beat down mere 
desire and replace it by some theory which all recognize as more 
noble and worthy. Philosophers have led one wing of this minority ; 
religionists the other. And which has proved the stronger force, 
religion or philosophy? Which appeals to the most minds? Which 
appeals to the most hearts? To the heart, religion alone. The 
morals, the ideals of the philosopher are powerless with the multi- 
tude unless touched by the fire of emotion and quickened by that 
faith in the unseen which turns human things into divine things. 

The philosophic thought of Eastern literature is also religious. 
The effect of this literature on the Western mind has become, during 
the last half-century, quite considerable. It has reinforced the 
Emersonian school and given new recognition to reverence for the 
mysterious in the order of the universe. 

Religion, being man's conception of what is fit for a superhuman 
or divine order of things, must vary in form to correspond with 
differences in human insight and knowledge. Following the gen- 
eral law for all that lives, formulated by Spencer and Darwin, it 
everywhere proceeds in its manifestations from the homogeneous 
to the heterogeneous, and must continue in this course. It is not 
that the ultimate object of search changes. The attitudes and 
capacities of the observers change. If any particular religion ever 
overspreads the earth and gains universal acceptance, it will gain 
it everywhere by taking its color, like the chameleon, from the soil, 
or perhaps, as to-day with the Christian religion, assuming many 
colors on the same soil. Only the motive and the general moral 
product will be cosmic. 

Men owe to their mothers their first introduction to the world 
of the mind and the spirit. Women are, by their inherent nature, 
religious beings. Equality of civil rights before the law will never 
disturb the poise of that nature. It is never satisfied to be en- 

Religion still the Key to History 225 

sphered within itself. It seeks to ally itself with something stronger. 
It responds readily to the mysterious. In a sense it is true that 
the life of every man turns on what is to be his relation to some 
woman. In a much deeper sense is it true that the life of every 
woman turns on what is to be her relation to some man. If hap- 
piness of home be denied to a man, he may find, or fancy that he 
finds, the void filled in the busy world. If it be denied to a woman, 
she cannot. She feels the void too deep to fill, unless it be by a 
peace that the world can neither give nor take away. And if hap- 
piness of home be given to a woman, she is more apt than man to 
think it but a gift from some higher power. 

These sentiments that from childhood imbue half the human 
race, that half instils in childhood into the whole. The first knowl- 
edge that comes to the babe in arms is that there is a protecting and 
supporting power, from which he receives everything, and to which 
he renders nothing but confidence and love. He grows into a child. 
Other forms rise up around him with which he finds himself in 
close relation. Motives of conduct are put before him ; duty to 
parents, among the first. There are few to whom a mother's voice 
does not suggest a reason for this duty in a divine command. The 
very oaths the boy will hear uttered upon the street will bear the 
same message in a different dress. 

A race, as Renan said, lives forever on its recollections of 
childhood. Impressions of religion then gained are never absolutely 
effaced. Like the secret despatch written in lemon-juice, they reap- 
pear at the touch of fire — in moments of deep feeling and supreme 
effort. It is by what is done at such moments that battles are won, 
parliamentary majorities change, dynasties fall. 

The most uncompromising materialist is seldom without his obli- 
gations to early impressions for his contentment with his surround- 
ings. There will be still, though he be not conscious of it, some 
lingering subjection to their power. As Dr. Barry in his sketch 
of Renan has said, " the sceptic lives on a capital stored up during 
the days when he believed. He is a philosopher on half-pay." 

Religion is a large word. Matthew Arnold's epigram ex- 
presses but a half-truth. Religion is morality — the morality of 
the time and of the race — touched with emotion — the emotion of 
the human heart. But as emotion is not self-contained, neither is 
it self-produced. It is a feeling of one towards another or with 
another, or else it is a feeling inspired by a memory of another or 
a conception of the ideal. The one is the more passionate : the 
other is the more profound. Either is a strong spring of action. 

226 S. E. Baldwin 

But one is of the earth : the other transcends the earth. Each has 
often turned the course of history. It has been suddenly and 
sharply turned by emotions that belong to the present, that awoke 
or were awakened by like emotion in another. It has seldom been 
permanently turned or permanently guided by these. That is the 
work of the emotions fed by the unseen ; emotions for which we 
owe nothing to our senses, nothing to ourselves. For if man is the 
measure of the universe, it is only because he sees that it is im- 
measurable, and feels that there is something immeasurable within 
himself which is a part of the immeasurable beyond himself. This 
feeling, this emotion of the heart, passing into a conviction of the 
mind, is the quickening spirit that makes our customs or morals 
flower into religion. 

Theologians, speaking for their realm of science, call it, as it 
appears there, faith — or perhaps faith in those who profess the 
doctrines to which they adhere; superstition, in other men. His- 
torians, as it appears in their realm of science, all see it in loyalty 
to national ideals, reverence for national institutions, veneration for 
the heroes of the past. All of them, I think it may be fairly said, 
have not been as ready to acknowledge its rightful power over a 
people when it turns their thoughts towards that transcendent energy 
which those call divine who feel that it brings them into a personal 
relation with the unseen and the unknowable. 

It may take the shape of pure theism. It may find divinity 
shining through a human form. It may find it in every man. 

The modern world, so far as the leaders of its thought can 
speak for it, is less confident than the world of a thousand or ten 
thousand years ago that there exists a being detached from all else 
so like ourselves that we can name it like one of us, a person, and 
presume to define its attributes in terms of human speech. It is 
more confident that there is a power in the universe that so controls 
or constitutes it in a settled order of relations and causation that all 
may safely trust in the continuance of that order without a break. 
It is more confident also that it is a power that, in the sum of things, 
makes for what is good as well as true and is worthy the highest 
name we can invent for it — the name of God. 

If there be anything in the theory of the monist ; if there be but 
one actuality in the universe, and that motion, or a force expressed 
in motion, the manner of that motion is, or seems to us, ruled by 
attraction. Attraction draws little things to great things: earths 
to suns ; men — for their bodies — to the earth ; but for their thinking 
selves it is still the dominating faith that these are in like manner, 

Religion still the Key to History 227 

if insensibly, yet surely, drawn towards a greater thinking self, as 
source and end. 

Ruskin said of Sainte-Beuve, that he never for a moment ad- 
mitted to himself the possibility of a True as well as an Ideal Spirit, 
or God. 1 It is precisely this which threw Sainte-Beuve out of 
touch with the people about him, and shut him out of the public 
heart. Spencer built on better foundations. His own conceptions 
might differ widely from those of English people. He might de- 
clare that " that which persists, unchanging in quantity but ever 
changing in form, under these sensible appearances which the Uni- 
verse presents to us, transcends human knowledge and conception — 
is an unknown and unknowable Power, which we are obliged to 
recognize as without limit in space and without beginning or end 
in time." 2 But if unknowable to him, this Power was not one with 
which he would lightly reckon as respects its influence on others. 
As Frederic Harrison said — and said rightfully — Spencer " looked 
to the unknowable environment behind the world of sense and 
knowledge as the sphere and object of religion." To the positivist, 
the unknowable environment is no less an admitted fact, but — to 
use Harrison's language again — " the only intelligible sphere of re- 
ligion must be the knowable ", and " the elements of the unknowable 
are immutably set in the canons of experience ". 

The church of the world stands nearer to Spencer. It disdains 
the dogma that the knowable is immutably measured by any form 
of human experience. The world in general rejects it. It is un- 
scientific. Who would have said, a century ago, that the voice of 
a friend speaking in Denver could be heard in New York, and 
recognized in every intonation as easily as if he were in the same 
room with him who is addressed? Who would have said, twenty 
years ago, that a ray of light could be so framed and directed as to 
light up the interior of the human body and show the skeleton within 
it? Who would have said, ten years ago, that there was a heat- 
producing mineral that never cooled? What canons of scientific 
experience brought within the range of probable assumption mar- 
vels like these? Surely it is but reasonable to expect that the 
common people will look at each new discovery of such a kind as 
fresh proof of an intelligent creator, and another step nearer to 
knowledge of what He is. 

The full power of such a belief is seldom felt by those who are 
themselves unaffected by it. For this cause, if for no other, the 

' Letters to Charles Eliot Norton, II. 13. 
2 Autobiography, I. 652. 

228 S. E. Baldwin 

historian whose judgments will be accepted by future generations 
must write in a religious spirit. He cannot use a key too large for 
him to grasp. I mean here by religion a reverent consciousness 
of a power (be it law or spirit) manifest in nature, which is stronger 
than man, and a sense of obligation to answer its demands. Its com- 
mon fruits, ripened by human association, have through all historic 
times been what in those times passed for collective virtue and 
self-sacrifice. The historian must respect these qualities. He 
must share in them, so far at least as to recognize them in others, 
and recognize their controlling force. 

George Sand makes her Marquis de Villemer declare that 
" Jamais une conscience troublee, jamais un esprit fausse n'enten- 
dront l'histoire." It will be always inclining to search out or invent 
some unworthy motive, some low design, in the greatest acts. It 
cannot comprehend that in which it has no part. Nor can the man 
whose conscience is untroubled and spirit true, but to whom him- 
self the religious motive is a stranger, appreciate what may be its 
mastery of others. Particularly is this true where behind the 
religious motive is the conviction of the personality of God. He 
to whom the divine stands as a being detached from all beside, will 
go farther and dare more for the love of God or fear of God, than 
the man to whom the divine transcends all personality and permeates 
whatever the universe contains. The very conception of such an 
immanence of God in the world is at once too vast and too subtle 
for the ordinary mind. It diffuses a power which the other con- 
ception concentrates. It turns a guide into a theory. 

If mankind is always craving heroes to worship, much more it 
craves a King of Kings, eternal in the heavens. The thought of 
unity in nature — of a single purpose or power to which all that 
we see or know or feel is related — is common to most of the great 
religions. It is also a vital part of them. To those who are 
possessed by it, it seems a clue by which to trace back every event 
of history to its farthest source. It is distinctly a religious clue. 

It naturally associates itself with the thought of unity in human 

To the Mohammedan, religion is still the centralizing force in 
government that it was for a thousand years to the Christian world. 
Medieval Europe could conceive only of one spiritual head and of 
one imperial head on earth. It was this sentiment that kept the 
Holy Roman Empire in life centuries after, as Voltaire declared, 
it was no longer Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire. 

Convince the mass of any people that a change of custom or 

Religion still the Key to History 229 

of law, or no change of custom or law ; that a war or no war ; the 
maintenance of an ancient policy or the substitution of another ; the 
support of an existing government or its overthrow; is demanded 
by duty to God, and you have a motive of action that is likely to 
prove irresistible. It is a motive easy to apprehend and there are 
always those who are ready to suggest it. Not only are they 
ready, but they have a vantage-ground which gives to what they 
say peculiar weight. It is that of the church. 

Between man and religion stands everywhere something in the 
nature of ecclesiastical authority, either self-asserted, or govern- 
mentally affirmed. The formalism in religion which naturally re- 
sults from an established church makes for conservatism in politics. 
In proportion to the hold which such a church has on the com- 
munity, it saps the springs of popular enthusiasm, and makes against 
business activity. Time which would otherwise be spent in labor 
is consumed in feast-days or fast-days. Leisure is gained, but at 
high cost and under circumstances unfriendly to its best use. In 
public educational institutions studies of more importance are apt 
to be put aside for instruction in the symbols and liturgies of the 

The same tendencies proceed in all countries from churches to 
which a large majority of the people belong, though not established 
by law, if they are ceremonial in their institutions. This cause 
has colored the life of the people and vitally affected the course of 
industry in Spanish America 1 and British India. 

There are twenty American republics. Two of them, Cuba and 
San Domingo, are bound to us by political ties of a peculiar char- 
acter. The rest shun us. We want their trade, but it goes to 
Europe. We want their sympathy, but what we receive is rather 
apprehension and suspicion. We meet them in Pan-American Con- 
gresses, but while projects are framed few are consummated. Why 
is it that with their political institutions so largely copied from us, 
they are foreign to us in spirit? Race and language, I believe, 
have been less the cause than religion. Religion counts more with 
them in influencing habits of thought and measures of social order. 
The church, as such, is a greater power. 

In South America and Central America the church was so long 
the only fountain of education, that public sentiment deemed it a 
sufficient source. There are countries in which the state has 
assumed this function, where churches have been found to promote 

1 A striking, and not inaccurate, forecast of its probable history was made 
in a letter from Jefferson to Lafayette, of May 14, 1817. Writings of Thomas 
Jefferson, Memorial edition, XV. 116. 

230 S. E. Baldwin 

its efforts for their own sake. In Finland, for instance, in the 
Lutheran denomination which there prevails, confirmation is refused 
to those who cannot read, and the consequence is that illiteracy is 
rare. So in a conquered country, if an established church survives, 
it may prove a nursery of patriotism. Modern Greece as an inde- 
pendent kingdom owes its existence to the Greek church. This 
kept alive the national feeling and tongue during the long years of 
Turkish occupation. 1 

The church appeals to what is poetic in our nature, and as our 
associate President Woodrow Wilson has finely said : " We live by 
Poetry ; and not by Prose." 

But the only true establishment of a church is in the hearts of 
those who belong to it. If they have faith in its principles, these 
will have a large influence in guiding their action as citizens in 
public affairs. Fear of its discipline, be it established or unestab- 
lished, will not. 

The attitude of every important church towards socialism is 
antagonistic. If it become official antagonism, it loses power. Why 
is socialism steadily growing in political weight, throughout Europe ? 
Why in France did its friends cast nearly half a million more votes 
at the elections of this year, than in any previous one? It is a 
sign of the decadence there of the power of the Vatican, pushed 
unwisely to the front in its encyclicals. It was a natural incident 
of the struggle which was separating church and state. As Pro- 
fessor Blondel has said of it : " Le peuple frangais est sans doute 
moins irreligieux qu'on ne le pretend quelquefois, mais il est tres 
defiant a l'egard de tout ce qui lui apparait comme une ingerence 
clericale, et n'accorde pas volontiers sa confiance a ceux qu'il 
soupconne de sympathie a l'egard du ' gouvernement des cures.' " 2 

The jealousy of clerical government on the part of the French 
people, however, is largely because they have learned to look on it 
as a government inspired from Rome, subject to Rome. 

One of last year's books bears the title Les Deux Frances. They 
are the France of the Blacks and the France of the Reds; of the 
party of King and Church, and that of Revolution. A party stand- 
ing for old institutions cannot easily be displaced by a party standing 
for new institutions, unless these rise up as the outcome and ex- 
pression of a spirit of individualism, native to the soil. If each 
party rests for its support on corporate influences, the struggle will 

1 Autobiography of Andrew D. White, II. 439. 

2 Blatter fur vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft und Volkswirtschaftslehre, 
July, 1906, p. 178. 

Religion still the Key to History 231 

be long and doubtful. There are still therefore les deux Frances, 
ever in conflict. The King — the thought of a restored monarchy — 
has almost disappeared as a constitutive force. But so has the 
Revolution. To that the corporate influences of the Republic have 
succeeded, and to-day it is the France of the Church contending 
with the France of the Republic. If the Church should learn to 
encourage the individual initiative of its followers — to let French- 
men direct the course in France of the Roman church — the France 
of the Blacks may yet prevail. 

The history of any people will be largely governed by its means 
of education. How far shall it extend? By whom shall it be 
furnished and controlled ? " Educate your masters " is the com- 
mand of political philosophy to the modern state. No education 
can be deemed complete which does not treat to some extent of 
religion. Yet if it be given at public expense, the cost will be 
borne by some who scout at all religion, and many who disagree 
with the prevailing forms of it. 

The position which the world is gradually taking on this sub- 
ject rests on principles foreshadowed in colonial Maryland and 
Rhode Island; first formally asserted by any government on purely 
humanitarian grounds in 1786 by Jefferson's statute of religious 
liberty in Virginia; and spread over a wider field by the Constitu- 
tion of the United States. 

The utmost point that had been previously reached was that 
religious liberty should be as great as the safety of the state per- 
mitted. Now it was declared that no limitations were required by 
the safety of the state. Yet here more than almost anywhere else 
is seen the difficulty of reconciling it with religious sentiment. 

The King of Bavaria, in a state paper early in the last century, 
declared that in public education religion was not to be taught at 
the cost of learning, nor yet learning at the cost of religion. There 
are still many, however, who believe it to be to the cost of learning 
for the state to assume to teach that, without making religion a part 
of it. 

More than a million children are being educated in the United 
States every year in the various schools of the Roman Catholic 
Church. The cost of this can hardly be less than twenty-five or 
thirty million dollars. Those who pay it are also required by the 
state to contribute as much as any other tax-paying citizens to the 
support of the public schools. It is no small force which leads 
these men to assume such burdens. It is the conviction that educa- 

232 S. £. Baldwin 

tion is incomplete unless religion be taught as part of it, added to 
the belief that the best form of religion, or we might say perhaps 
the only form of true religion, is that of which their own church 
is the expression. 

Holland has profited by our experience, and since 1857 has for- 
bidden religious instruction in her public schools. The Catholics were 
not content to have it given by Calvinists, nor Calvinists to let it 
come from Catholics. Similar considerations, fortified by an in- 
fluence substantially unfelt in Holland — that of socialism, have now 
thoroughly secularized education in France, but only after the most 
bitter contests. In both English and Canadian politics the same 
question is now the dominating one. 

The position of Russia in this respect has been one of the cir- 
cumstances weakening her as a great power as well as leading 
directly to revolutionary change. The church has had the full 
direction of the public schools. For the first three years, it kept 
the children simply learning prayers by rote, except for a little drill 
towards the close in mental arithmetic. No instruction in reading 
was required. The product of such a system is not simply popular 
unintelligence. It is an unreal quietude, easily passing into a blind 
fury, under the influences of a century like ours. 

Religious tests for ordinary offices have been largely abolished, 
even in monarchical governments, but whenever in these there is a 
state church, the monarch, as its head, remains bound to it by vows 
so solemn as to prove the conviction of the people that nothing can 
safely be yielded there. The coronation oath of King Edward stood 
for the same dogmatic rigidity in its reference to the papacy as 
did that of an opposite kind imposed on his niece, the Princess Ena, 
before she could be Queen of Spain. 1 

There is no civilized nation in recent years where the state sup- 
ports the church, in which there has not been so much dissatisfaction 
with that policy as to inspire some public opposition. In many, the 

1 This was " I, recognizing as true the Catholic and apostolic faith, do hereby 
publicly anathematize every heresy, especially that to which I have had the 
misfortune to belong. I agree with the Holy Roman Church, and profess with 
mouth and heart my belief in the Apostolic See, and my adhesion to that faith 
which the Holy Roman Church, by evangelical and apostolical authority, delivers 
to be held. Swearing this by the sacred Homoousion, or trinity of the same sub- 
stance, and by the holy gospels of Christ, I do pronounce those worthy of eternal 
anathema who oppose this faith with their dogmas and their followers, and 
should I myself at any time presume to approve or proclaim anything contrary 
hereto, I will subject myself to the severity of the canon law. So help me God, 
and these his holy gospels." 

Religion still the Key to History 233 

opposition has already triumphed: in all, it will. The disestablish- 
ment of the Church in Ireland, in the face of the solemn provision 
to the contrary in the Act of Union, will some day be followed by 
the disestablishment of the Church of England, whose numbers have 
recently sunk to a minority of the English people. In France, the 
separation of the state from the churches, first in regard to educa- 
tion, and then at all points, has been the great political issue for a 
quarter of a century. The French Revolution could not accomplish 
it. Though in the Constitution of 1791 it was asserted that all the 
property of the church belonged to the nation, and the Concordat 
ten years later confirmed it, it was only in this present year that 
France ventured seriously to stand upon her title. 

A church to which the mass of any people belongs will exert a 
stronger influence on them than on their leaders in civil affairs. 
These leaders will be better fitted to exercise an independent judg- 
ment. They will be more moved by motives of personal ambition. 
Religion will not be to them the one thing to elevate their thoughts 
beyond the narrow round of domestic life. 

But of those who direct affairs in any nation in which govern- 
ment formally avows and teaches in its schools the existence of a 
higher spiritual power few will escape the conviction that in this at 
least there is truth. A belief in God leads to a trust in God in great 
emergencies, and to an inspiring identification of God and country. 
In war, this motive is as strong to-day as it was a thousand years 
ago. The Cambridge Modern History, after giving one volume 
to the Reformation, devotes another to what it styles the Wars of 
Religion. The Wars of Religion did not end in the seventeenth 
century, nor in the nineteenth. France is still sore from her losses 
by the last. 

The influences of an ecclesiastical establishment and of the sim- 
ple religious motive were curiously intertwined in what led to the 
fall of Napoleon III. The relations of Germany to the papacy had 
an important influence in bringing on first the war between Austria 
and Prussia in 1866 and then that between France and Prussia in 
1870, both fomented from Rome, as events likely to prove a check to 
the Protestant interest in Europe. 1 The proclamation of the German 
Empire at Versailles was the unexpected fruit — unexpected but not 
unnatural. The German fought for God and fatherland. The 
French were permeated by the godless philosophy of the first re- 

1 See Autobiography of Andrew D. White, II. 350. 

234 ■$"• £• Baldwin 

The German is taught religion in the school. He is reminded 
of it from the throne. The Emperor William, as fully as the Czar, 
seizes every opportunity to claim a divine sanction for his author- 
ity. 1 He has thrust France aside as the universal protector of 
Catholic missions in the East, and found his profit in it by large 
territorial acquisitions in China, seized in retaliation for outrages on 
German missionaries. He has made his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 

France, too, of late, in the same way, has so shaped her 
Chinese policy that the flag has followed the missionary. The re- 
public has clung to the ecclesiastical prerogatives of the monarchy, 
though with the abrogation of the Concordat it is difficult to see 
how its protectorate over Eastern missions can hereafter be asserted. 

A religious motive in foreign affairs can only be seriously ad- 
vanced when a religious motive is recognized in home affairs. The 
loss of that in the French Revolution was one of the first things of 
the consequence of which, after the restoration, Talleyrand warned 
Louis XVIII. when consulting with him over the best assur- 
ances with which to surround his throne. You have, said he, to 
deal with a people " accustomed to found their rights on their 
pretensions, and their pretensions on their power." " Formerly, 
religious influence could support royal authority; it can do so no 
longer, now that religious indifference has pervaded all classes, and 
become almost universal." " Royal authority can therefore only 
derive support from public opinion, and to obtain this it must be in 
accord with that opinion." 2 

It may be doubted whether religious indifference was so wide- 
spread in the France of 1815, when this was written. If so, it was 
because of a torrent of revolution which for the time had swept 
before it the good and the bad alike. That torrent has left to public 
opinion a lasting place of power over human governments, but it has 
also, I believe, left religion in its old place as the main foundation of 
public opinion. 

Early in 1905, the Emperor of Germany, in a public address, 3 
declared that the defeats of Russia in her war with Japan were due 
to the deplorable condition of Russian Christianity. It was deplor- 
able because directed by a state church which failed to respond to 
the spirit of the times. None of its members could abandon it for 
another without forfeiting all civil rights, including that of holding 

1 See particularly his speech at Coblentz, August 31, 1897, quoted in Reinsch, 
World Politics, p. 301. 

2 Memoirs of Talleyrand, Putnam's edition, III. 130, 147. 

3 On March 9, 1905, in an address before the naval recruits at Wilhelms- 

Religion still the Key to History 235 

property. Its principal functionary, M. Pobedonostseff, was a con- 
servative of the conservatives, to whom the Orthodox Greek Church 
seemed the only thing that bound the many peoples of Russia into 
the Russian people. ' The creed of this church is medieval : of its 
teachings and influence Tolstoi has told, and the world believes him. 

The very month after the sharp words of the German Emperor, 
the Czar, against the protest of Pobedonostseff, decreed religious 
liberty ; and his subsequent convocation of the Douma was closely 
followed by directions to the Metropolitan who is president of the 
Holy Synod to call a general council of the Orthodox Greek Church. 
No such council had met since 1654. It can hardly fail to give a 
new direction to the religious life of the mass of the Russian people. 2 
Already they have shown a new interest in what it stands for by a 
general inquiry for copies of the Bible. More parts of Bibles and 
Testaments were sold in Russia last year than in any year before, 
over half a million in European Russia alone. The fruits have not 
thus far made for peace, but they may be worth more than peace. 

A department of the Holy Synod, until recently, as a bureau of 
" Spiritual Censure ", held control of all publications on ecclesiastical 
history, theology, or philosophy. Nothing could be published or 
sold, on these topics, without its permission. It is worth noting 
that from 1863 this bureau forbade the circulation of any part of 
the Old Testament except the Psalms, in the languages of the people. 
There was too much in the other books that breathed the spirit of 

It may indeed be safely said that no single cause for the spread 
of religious liberty and, by consequence, of civil liberty in modern 
times has been so powerful as the circulation of the Bible in all 
languages. It is to-day pronounced by publishers to be the best- 
selling book in the world. 3 The market for it has steadily broad- 
ened with and because of the new latitude of interpretation and 
criticism countenanced by modern churches. 

The last sixty or seventy years has indeed given to Christendom 
a new Bible. It is not that so very much has been discovered by 

1 Autobiography of Andrew D. White, II., chap. 36. 

2 Before these changes, Pobedonostseff and his school had relied on the pop- 
ular reverence for religion as the main support ot autocracy. If there be such • 
a thing as a religious stage of development for nations, Rissia was still in it. 
The events of 1906 would indicate that reverence for her state church, at least, 
had been seriously weakened. 

3 The North India Bible Society, which is sixty years old, published and 
circulated, between 1890 and 1900, a yearly average of 87,000 copies of Bibles, 
New Testaments, and selected portions of them. Since 1900 this annual output 
has been nearly doubled, and the number rose in 1905 to 195,879. 

AM. HIST. REV., VOL. XII. — 16. 

236 S. E. Baldivin 

archaeologists or worked out by critical research, which was un- 
known before, but because the attitude of Christian people and 
Christian ministers towards biblical study has become gradually 
revolutionized. Textual homiletics, textual theology, unscientific 
theories of interpretation, have become generally discredited. The 
spirit of free inquiry, which not long ago characterized but a few 
men like Strauss and Renan, has now begun to characterize all real 
Christian scholarship in the United States and most of it in the 
world at large. Here, from the absence of religious establishments 
and the presence of universal education at public charge, it has nat- 
urally had free scope. It has given a prominence before unknown 
in modern times, outside of China, to character and conduct as the 
foundations of a true life. It has brought the general Christian 
world to look upon them as about the only evidence worth having 
that in any man earth has been brought close to heaven, while still 
maintaining that character and conduct are the fruits of the ideal, 
the children of faith in the invisible and eternal. It has brought 
the wider world of civilized mankind in all continents to care little 
for a man's theological beliefs, everything for his beliefs, his real 
beliefs, as to what is the true, the good, and the beautiful. 

Panislamism has gained a fresh inspiration from this source. 
The Young Turkish Party, already recognized as an important 
political force, founds itself on treating the Koran with the same 
free hand with which Christians treat the Bible, and so bringing 
its teachings into harmony with the new thought of a new time. 

During the last few years the American people have insisted, 
to a marked degree, on the observance of higher ethical standards 
on the part of their public and of their business men. The move- 
ment in this direction has been a steady one for more than half 
a century. In 1843, tne foremost English novelist, fresh from a 
visit to the United States, could speak of it as "that Republic, but 
yesterday let loose upon her noble course, and but to-day so maimed 
and lame, so full of sores and ulcers, foul to the eye and almost 
hopeless to the sense, that her best friends turn from the loathsome 
creature with disgust." 1 So severe an arraignment was unjustified 
in 1843. It would have been impossible and unthinkable at any 
time since, let us say, the Civil War. But it was not the Civil War 
that elevated the moral standards of the people. War is a salvation 
to some souls, a damnation to many more. " Treasons, stratagems, 
and spoils " — the spoils of the field and the spoils of the army con- 
tractor — make a poor soil for the growth of public morals. The 

1 Dickens in Martin Chuzslewit, chap. xxu. 

Religion still the Key to History 237 

American people have grown to a purer life, or at least to a demand 
for a purer life on the part of those who lead their fortunes, mainly 
by force of a world-movement, which has simply found here the 
freest play. 

The better relations between Jew and Christian that now gen- 
erally exist are attributable, in no small degree, to the growth of 
this ethical spirit; not so much because ethics make for fraternity, 
as that this growth proceeds from a tendency on the part of Chris- 
tians towards acceptance of the same fundamental religious prin- 
ciples. The Jew has never troubled himself very much with the 
question of personal immortality, and all that goes with it of re- 
sponsibility and retribution. His aim has been to make the best of 
earth ; his hope that of a Messianic era here. Christian theology 
has looked more to a future world as the real home of men, in an 
abode or state that, happy or miserable, was to endure forever. 

Christendom, during the last few years, has been approaching 
the Judaic view, as best expressive of the immediate objects to be 
pursued in human life. Hence among those peoples which have 
gone farthest in this direction, the political and social condition of 
the Jews is more favorable than among those — like Russia, Rou- 
mania, and Austria — which have made no substantial change of 
position. If his life on this earth be the great thing for a man to 
regulate and plan for, why complain if the Jew wins the prizes 
of trade and wealth, though it be by concentrating his attention on 
material gains ? " Go thou and do likewise " is becoming, perhaps 
too fast and with too little qualification, the general motto of the 
business world. 

Christian theology anticipated evolution in endeavoring to ac- 
count for what is base in human nature. It set it to the account of 
original sin. To raise up a being infected with that not simply 
from his birth, but through an inheritance from ancestors infected 
with it for countless generations, was a task which God only could 
accomplish. To Him it was the work of a moment ; and they called 
it salvation. 

It was a theory well calculated to have a profound effect on the 
human mind. It gave an immense power to a priesthood believed 
to have the power of speaking for God and declaring to any man 
that his salvation had been accomplished. It put them by the side 
of kings and above kings. 

A time has come when the leaders of the church are beginning 
to say with John Fiske that " original sin is neither more nor less 

238 S. E. Baldwin 

than the brute inheritance which every man carries with him, and 
the process of evolution is an advance towards true salvation." 

The church is changing — has changed — its ground. It is not 
losing — has not lost — its power. It makes use of the old truth in a 
new way. It was right at bottom. 

The unfolding of the law of evolution from the first, for those 
who accepted it, unquestionably tended to narrow the order of 
things in which man has his being. As the bond between him and 
the lowest forms of life became visibly stronger, that between him 
and any form of life higher than himself became visibly weaker. 
He was of less importance in the world. Wallace could open the 
gates to the new vision of the past; he could not shut them. He 
could not lead men to any new standpoint from which they could 
look on the earth as the centre of the intellectual or moral universe. 

The church, at first, everywhere disinclined — still much of it 
disinclined — to accept the theory of evolution with all that it implies, 
has begun to readjust itself to its new environment. If, she says, 
this new evolution can produce from some single torpid cell a being 
with the intellectual and moral force of man, why may not man con- 
tain the torpid cell out of which in some at least may be evolving and 
ultimately, in some other stage of being, may be evolved what for 
want of a better word we call a Spirit — something with an energy 
akin to what we name divine? Force is persistent. That it is we 
know. What it is we do not know. If persistent in what is ma- 
terial, why not persistent in what is immaterial? If persistent in 
what we call time and space, why not persistent in something which 
we do not dare to call time or space and vaguely name eternity ? 

But questions like these do not much concern the mass of human- 
kind. The leaders of intellectual life are few. They are followed 
at a long interval. They know this, well. It is their office, in every 
generation, to set the goal, but to moderate rather than to speed 
the pace of the people as they turn in the new direction. 

The leaders of intellectual life who are in positions of ecclesi- 
astical authority, under the influence of these forces, have every- 
where begun to preach a new theology. It is a theology of the 
present. It might almost be called a theology of the earth, earthy. 
Its foundation is still the existence of a great first cause, which men 
call God. Its aim is still to set forth the whole duty of man, and 
to found it on his duty towards this almighty and eternal source of 
his being. But it sets it forth with less assumption of a knowledge 
of the unseen. No Nicene creed, no creed professing to define the 
genesis and nature and attributes of God, could ever be the product 

Religion still the Key to History 239 

of the twentieth century. The modern pulpit and council are con- 
tent to say with St. Paul that " the invisible things of him from the 
creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the 
things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead." The 
churches of every faith, in some degree — of all in proportion to 
their share in the time-spirit of their generation — are pointing to 
Man as the only real revelation of the nature of God, and to the 
opportunities of the present life as what chiefly concerns him, in 
his highest as well as his lowest desires and activities. One hears 
little in churches led by an educated clergy of a future heaven, and 
less of a future hell. It is this pressing, immediate world about us, 
that is their theme. " One world at a time " is more and more be- 
coming the practical doctrine of the modern pulpit. Do your duty 
to-day, and be not anxious about tomorrow, whether it be the mor- 
row of the next sunrise or of a million ages. 

What has been, what is to be the effect of this change in the 
attitude of the church on the course of human history? It will not 
remove the power of theistic appeal. If it should spread over all 
nations, and all faiths, it will leave unimpaired the motives of duty 
to God and country. A war to maintain the honor of fatherland 
and of the fathers from whom it was inherited will always enlist 
the sympathies of the people with double force, if they are quickened 
by religious convictions. 

Recent events have shown that soldiers who believe they are 
fighting God's battles may yield before those not superior in numbers 
or arms who believe that in fighting they are honoring the first an- 
cestors of the sovereign, whose spirit in an ancestor world holds 
sway over those of their own ancestors. The double character of 
the Mikado of Japan as spiritual leader and earthly sovereign, im- 
pressed by the institution of ancestor-worship upon every Japanese 
from infancy, moves him far more deeply than the Russian muzhik 
is affected by his reverence for the Czar as head of his country's 
church. Admiral Togo's message to the Mikado last year, attribut- 
ing to his superhuman influence the annihilation of the Russian fleet, 
spoke the real conviction of a great man and a great people. 

We must never forget that not only were the founders of all the 
great religions of Asiatic origin, but that religion is now a more 
vital force in Asia than on any other continent. The deep, if 
dreamy, spiritual insight, the brooding intellectual habit, the 
strength of antecedents, that belong to the East, put religion there 
in a position as lofty as it is unique. 

Hegel observed that there are two natural steps in human life, 

240 5". E. Baldwin 

that of subjectivity and objectivity. The youth bends his thoughts 
towards the correspondence that he is to establish between him- 
self and the universe. He proceeds from himself outwards. He 
joins his life to the ideal, in hope and faith. Years pass and he has 
found his place. There is a round of daily duties and perhaps of 
pleasures, on which his attention centres. His thoughts now turn 
not to the ideal but to what life in fact has brought him, and to 
how that shall be best accomplished. 

The race of man pursues the same stages. In the East, they 
are still in the first. Even in Japan, so largely occidentalized, they 
are constructing for themselves a new ideal of Christianity. Ex- 
cept for Japan, they are what they were. Subjectivity still holds 
them captive. 

China has recently abolished the requirement of familiarity with 
the Confucian classics on the part of those desiring official appoint- 
ment or promotion. The first examination under the new system 
took place this fall, and the nine receiving the highest marks were 
men educated in the United States or Europe — the first of them 
a doctor of philosophy and the next a doctor of civil law of an 
American university. 

A change like this involves, as a necessary consequence, the rise 
of new national ideals. The calm and restful tone of the Confucian 
philosophy of life will be replaced by something less smooth and 
more deep, more religious. The spirit of the West has burst upon 
the silent sea of self-satisfied seclusion on which China has been idly 
floating for two thousand years. It has troubled the waters. It 
may turn them into a river that will run far. 

As respects Mohammedanism, the fundamental precepts of that 
faith are such as necessarily to give them a strong political effect. 1 
Its adherents stand together, like the members of a secret order. 
In Europe they cling to their religion as closely as in Asia. In 
1900, seven thousand Mohammedan Servians suddenly left the 
country, because one Mohammedan had been received into a Chris- 
tian church. 2 

The strongest assurance of the power of the Sublime Porte is the 
general recognition by the Mohammedan world and the King of 
Great Britain as Emperor of India, of the Sultan of Turkey as the 
true Caliph or Commander of the Faithful. The strongest menace 
of the British Empire in the East is the utter foreignness there of 

1 Only by force of the Treaty of Berlin of 1878 has religious toleration been 
anything but an empty word at Constantinople. 

* Francis H. E. Palmer, Austro-Hungarian Life (New York, 1903), p. 88. 

Religion still the Key to History 241 

Western Christianity. The European sent to Asia or Africa to 
govern a subject race finds himself separated from it by an aloofness 
which he cannot conquer. It does not proceed from him. He is 
often anxious to overcome it, in the native. But it is the inevitable 
fruit of antipathetic relations, springing from religious differences. 
The religions of the West rule the religionist. The religion of 
Islam rules every Mohammedan, be he saint or sinner ; and in case 
of war all are faithful to the commander of the faithful. Lord 
Cromer, a few months ago, received a warning letter from one pro- 
fessing to write in the name of his people of Egypt, and whose 
stately periods remind one of the Hebrew prophets. It was ad- 
dressed to " the Reformer of Egypt." 

He must be blind [said the writer], who sees not what the English 
have wrought in Egypt; the gates of justice stand open to the poor; 
the streams flow through the land and are not stopped at the order of 
the strong ; the poor man is lifted up and the rich man pulled down ; the 
hand of the oppressor and the briber is struck when outstretched to do 
evil. Our eyes see these things and we know from whom they come. 
You will say : " Be thankful, oh, men of Egypt ! and bless those who bene- 
fit you ;" and very many of us — those who preserve a free mind and are 
not ruled by flattery and guile — are thankful. But thanks lie on the sur- 
face of the heart, and beneath is a deep well. 

While peace is in the land the spirit of Islam sleeps. We hear tha 
Imam cry out in the mosque against the unbelievers, but his words pass 
by like wind and are lost. Children hear them for the first time and do 
not understand them ; old men have heard them from childhood and pay 
no heed. 

But it is said, " There is war between England and Abdul-Hamid 
Khan." If that be so, a change must come. The words of the Imam 
are echoed in every heart and every Moslem hears only the cry of the 
faith. As men we do not love the sons of Osman; the children at the 
breast know their words, and that they have trodden down the Egyptians 
like dry reeds. But as Moslems they are our brethren ; the Khalif holds 
the sacred places and the noble relics. Though the Khalif were hapless 
as Bajazid, cruel as Murad, or mad as Ibrahim, he is the shadow of 
God, and every Moslem must leap up at his call as the willing servant 
to his master, though the wolf may devour his child while he does his 
master's work. The call of the Sultan is the call of the faith ; it carries 
with it the command of the Prophet, blessings, etc. I and many more 
trust that all may yet be peace ; but if it be war, be sure that he who has 
a sword will draw it, he who has a club will strike with it. The women 
will cry from the housetops, " God give victory to Islam ! " 

You will say, " The Egyptian is more ungrateful than' a dog, which 
remembers the hand which fed him. He is foolish as the mad-man who 
pulls down the roof tree of his house upon himself." It may be so to 
worldly eyes, but in the time of danger to Islam the Moslem turns away 
from the things of this world and thirsts only for the service of his 
faith, even though he looks in the face of death. May God (His name 
be glorified) avert the evil. 

242 6". E. Baldwin 

It is the existence of this spirit which makes the punishments 
often inflicted on insurgents by the British in their Eastern pos- 
sessions sharp up to the point of barbarism. Nothing less tells there. 

It is the mosque that guards the palace of the Sultan. 

Sir William Marriott, when in company with Ismail Pasha, the 
first Khedive of Egypt, happened to meet in Boulogne a procession 
of young girls on their way to their first communion. The pasha 
saluted it with a low reverence. " Your Highness is more Catholic 
than the Catholics ", said Sir William. "Ah," was the reply, " you 
see I have ruled, and no man can rule without religion." 1 

On this point East and West can both agree. Napoleon said, 
in reference to the Concordat of 1801, that he saw in the church not 
the mystery of the incarnation but the mystery of social order. 
Later, at the height of his power, speaking in the same vein, he inti- 
mated his belief that Christianity was an illusion but a very useful 
one. It assured the tranquillity of the state in reconciling man 
with himself and giving him a philosophy to live by. The age of 
illusions was for nations, as for individuals, the age of happiness. 2 

It is not for history to pronounce whether any religion or all 
religions be founded on mere illusions. She must leave that to 
theologians and psychologists. But in her field of inductive sociol- 
ogy, she owns still the continuing force of the religious motive. 

In modern politics, it takes on a new importance. They are 
expressed in terms of representative government. It may be repre- 
sentation by a legislature, or by a ministry. In either case it will 
assume to represent the people by representing a party. Repre- 
sentative government implies and involves party organization. 
Party organization is unfavorable to the expression of candid, im- 
partial public opinion. But let any religious question be involved, 
and public opinion will find a way to express itself, which no party 
machinery can seriously obstruct. 

So in world-politics, now so largely governed by a public opinion 
of the world, the pressure that can be brought upon any one power 
by others — that is brought upon each by other peoples through 
the press — will be immensely strengthened if it be impelled by an 
ethical or religious motive; — ethical or religious, for an ethical im- 
pulse common to many nations belongs to the religion of humanity. 

That grows as ecclesiasticism declines. The Christian church 
has been gradually reduced, to use the phrase of Gardiner, " from 
the exercise of power to the employment of influence ". Its tend- 

1 Memoirs of Grant Duff, II. 18. 

2 Memoirs of Talleyrand, Putnam's edition, I. 339. 

Religion still the Key to History 243 

encies of thought run, more than those fostered by any other of 
the great religions, towards loyalty to humanity, rather than to race. 
It is the only one that makes any serious effort to preach its gospel 
"to every creature". "We recognize", said Tertullian, "one com- 
monwealth, the world." It does not hesitate to put its own rules 
above those assumed for political science or economy. From the 
churches of England came the last great impulse that carried 
through the Corn Laws, and made free trade her policy to-day. 
There are signs of a movement in the churches of the United States 
in the same direction. Should it gather force, statesmen must 
reckon seriously with it. 

Renan, in his Life of Jesus, 1 remarks that he was the first of 
men to conceive, or at all events to put life into that thought, that 
liberty was something independent of politics ; that one's country is 
not everything; and that the man is anterior and superior to the 

The share of government in human society becomes less ob- 
trusive as time goes on. Show of force declines as the sentiment 
of obedience to law becomes more prevalent. Public authority is 
more and more localized in small political communities, there to be 
administered by representatives of the inhabitants. These social 
principles go to diminish the weight of national governments, and 
make the individual man feel that he is a citizen first of his own 
local community and then of the world. They also strongly re- 
inforce the general trend of the Christian reiigion (which we may 
fairly say is to-day the strongest of any in its influence upon human 
history) towards insistence on universal brotherhood as the ultimate 
criterion of international obligations. 

Simeon E. Baldwin. 

1 Cbap. vii.